View Full Version : Phone call from Tom Hennessy
As some of you know Santa brought me an Ultralite A-sym for Christmas, and as you know I have been studying non-stop on techniques to increase my usage of the hammock. I had come up with an idea or two and bounced them off SgtRock and HH, then I said what the hey and e-mailed T.Hennessy....in the e-mail I explained what I was up to, gave my contact info and lo and behold yesterday my cell phone rings en-route to my girlfriends and guess who-Tom Hennessy himself calling to talk about my intended modifications. 30 minutes later I am on a new course in insulating the bottom for winter use. Needless to say I was impressed that he took the time to call me. Let it be said that this CEO/Owner cares for his customers, is interested in feedback and new ideas. I think I will buy another hammock just to support his industry.
Yeap, Tom is very interested and concerned with his customers and future customers needs. He has shocked me more then once with his generousity. He is willing to customize whatever he can. HH
If you have any glorius epiphanies on how to insulate your hammock, please share. I'm using a cut up Z-rest(eggshell type). I ussually wake up to find anywhere but under my backside.
Well after about a hundred hours of consideration, the bottom line is the bottom of the hammock-duh, but what about the top, i.e. the netting...all this is in reference to the HH Ultralite A-sym-the only one I have an experience in (and that is a whole whopping 15 minutes of lying in it in the backyard :( You've got to love the netting, good stuff in the Spring,Summer,Fall....but I am rethinking it too for the cold...think about a tent in the winter, bug netting would let all that heat out-no different in the hammock...so if I was TH I would def. consider a hammock that has a tent top with vents in both ends-maybe a pop on/take off gizzmo-this from a tester at backpackgeartest.org who used a Thermolite bivy to enclose the top of his HH A-sym....so tents are 10 degrees warmer on average than outside temps but that is when they are on the ground so we are back to the bottom issue of the hammock---bridges freeze before roads so I call it 'the bridge effect' or 'bridging' to let someone know you are freezing your arse off in a hammock....now surf over to Crazy Creek (folks who make the chair we love) and consider their Crazy Crib ---then read the reviews at backpackgeartest.org
You will see that for cold temps (30 and below) the Crazy Crib rules in that it has a sleeve for a pad, and it will accomodate the full length Thermarest you already own...
So after all that my epiphany is this: add a sleeve to the bottom of the HH A-sym, actually 3 sleeves or panels. One big one under the torso, from the slit end to under the head area and from side to side. The sleeve need not be a sleeve as in a tent pole sleeve but rather a large rectangle out of netting/bungee/or the likes that can contain a quilt or hold a quilt against the bottom of the hammock without compressing its insulation. This slightly elastic netting will have a 3-5 inch capacity so the Primaloft or down in the quilt won't be compressed, chances are that thin shock cords or velcro will be used to hold the top of the quilt to the bottom of the hammock and maybe velcro or shock cords simply running along the side of the hammock will suffice in holding the quilt in position...and in so thinking the quilt should be made with a differential cut like a good down sleeping bag so no pressure point can cause a thermal leak and resultant cold spot. If no quilt is present this 'sleeve' could accept pine needles, leaves, anything that would create dead air spaces-but the Primaloft/down quilt would obviously be the better choice.
Now the trick is no one is making such quilts for the HH, but there are hammocks out there that have addressed the cold issue in a serious way-Speer Hammocks, Inc. Speer's coccoon is a novel and interesting idea and when you look at it and juxtapose Crazy Creeks ability to accept a pad and keep it in one place throughout the night one must stop and ask themselves of the utility of the bottom entry in the HH-is it necessary? better? Or does the bottom entry preclude a full length sleeve, or the addition of a quilt full of insulation?
I think any of us who have studied the hammock in the cold issue would agree that a pad (closed cell foam) is a requirement. You might also agree that the HH design makes inserting a 72" Therarest a problem. We all know, even me after 15 minutes of trying, that getting a pad in the HH, and then into a sleeping bag is hard enough, much less staying on it...the sleeping bag/sleeve combos such as Big Agnes and Feathered Friend's Great Auk are great for tents but again fail in the HH....
All this said and done and I gaurantee you (thought T.Hennessy never said anything directly about it) that HH will introduce some sort of mechanism where insulation bats/pad/blankets/quilts/etc. can be placed under the HH.....
So out of curiosity I would like to ask all HH owner/users why the bottom entry? is it stability? ease of entry? does it enhance the sleeping comfort? does it in some way or another give the HH the flat sleeping surface we all love?
Do you think HH will ever offer a hammock with top/side entry to accomodate a full length sleeve?
Well I doubt it and here is why...the majority of the body-the torso lies from the top of the slit to the head area-that is where the most heat will be lost and that area is where the insulation problem will be addressed.
Now if you carry this quilt for the torso area, and wide enough so that when the hammock 'coccoons' you there will still be insulation around your arms, how much weight will you be adding to your pack for said quilt?
My guess is that with down or Primaloft this quilt will weigh in at 8 oz. or less, 10oz. at the worst...
Tom and I talked a lot about that this spring. He seems to have about 3 different strategies commming out to try sometime in the near future. One is a custom bag similar like a top bag design, another is a reflector pad, and a third is an underblanket or something similar as I understand it. It will be interesting to see when they finialy do come out - I hope to get my hands on at least one.
I do believe the bottom entrie (I remember Mr.Henessy refering to it as a "Womb with a view") helps keep out bugs. Their is no spot in the netting for them to scrunch in through, and since your body heat is mostly on the other side of the hammock from the velcro entry, they congregate away from it. I noticed this in a misquito infested valley, the buzzing around the hammock was obnoxiuos, but none got in.
Perhaps Jungle hammock is the key term here, we hammock users just decided for themselves to use it in cold weather.
Thanks Redbeard for answering the question on bottom entry versus top, and there are more advantages the biggest being IMHO no zipper to fail on the netting, this itself says that the HH was tropical in its original intent but where in N. America are we not plagued by flying insects at one time or another-point being that bottom entry whether tropical intent or not is adventageous to say the least, and I can see from a physics standpoint why the bottom entry is in the middle and not left or right....yes I am very curious which attack plan Tom takes to give advanced cold weather use and like SGT Rock, I will be first in line to test the approach to cold use.
I have just read too many reports of users who are very successful in very cold temps e.g. 10-20 degrees who use a closed cell pad...nowhere have I found reports of underhammock insulation pads/panels/bats or whathaveyou.
Maybe by this fall?
I am one who uses a pad in the hammock most of the time but I would love an under hammock insulation system just because I would no longer have to fight to get and keep the pad under me. One example of the under hammock insulation is seen in this post on another forum: http://www.backpacking.net/forums/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Board=geartalk&Number=8386&page=&view=&sb=&o=
About the only real success I've had to date with a mattress pad or reflector is to put it inside my sleeping bag. I use a 3/4 ultra-lite and it stays pretty still unless I have one of my "falling" dreams (LOL) :o
I have ordered the material to fashion an underhammock quilt from Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics---I will let you hammock users know what and when the stuff arrives. I also ordered the Arc-Alpinist from Nunatak but it seems like it will be warm weather before I can experiment with the combination of underquilt and overquilt.